This week I've got Michelle Browne, author of the highly-rated The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming. Read on to see what she has to say.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
I’m told that I’m a sweetie and full of sunshine and warmth. I like writing about dark and horrible things. I also love chocolate and strawberries and steak. I cannot go without reading a book or writing for more than a day at a time. I have a thing for magpies; I relate to them and also adore shiny things.
2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?
It is a cross genre horror anthology called 'The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming'. If you like madness, fairy tales, and regret, you will love this.
It includes a full length novel, 'The Underlighters' , and 11 stand alone short stories. Interested in worlds where a plague of nightmare-inducing Dust forces humanity underground? Where disembodied hands and cannibal fairies stalk the shadows? Where scifi dystopias overlap with The Brothers Grimm? Don't miss this one.
3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?
It contains the first book in a series, ‘The Underlighters’; this is the first book of The Nightmare Cycle. At least one more book and possibly two are planned. It depends on what the characters make me do!
4. How long have you been writing?
Ten years, give or take a year. I got the bug when I was 12 or so and…the rest is history.
5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?
From everything. Classic literature. Scraps of gutter glass. Random questions my partner asks me. Ideas just sort of happen, and I try to rein them in.
6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?
Be prepared to bleed and sweat for your craft. Sacrifice your ego and serve your characters and story first. Show, don’t tell. Kill the beautiful sentences. Be prepared to fail.
Publishing is a wonderful kind of hell. Be ready for suffering you have not yet encountered! Oh, and remember to have fun, or all of this is worthless.
7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?
I don’t have one. That’s why my books are getting some wind under their wings; I write a good book and let people judge for me. I do think people who are extremely hardline conservatives may have difficulty with my content, though; as well, people looking for mere fluff might not like my style. I try to write an entertaining book, though, not just a smarty smarty talky one, so we’ll see.
8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?
A planner. Outlines just ruin the idea; I sketch out ideas and make flow charts. I don’t think I know what you mean by ‘outlining’. I only do that in rare cases, though, if it’s what I think it is.
9. Are you a "write every day of the week" sort of writer or do you take days off?
I take days off. Right now, publicity and marketing take a lot of my time.
10. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?
HISS BOO HISS BOO. Do it like the rest of us, you cheaters! Do review trades and write a book so good that people recommend it to others!
11. Do you think retailer rating/review systems are broken? If so, any suggestions on how to fix them?
Hm. Sort of? The only way is to keep listening to friends and take human reviews. Amazon will do what it likes, but GoodReads is relatively reliable, I would say.
12. Some book reviewers won't accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?
HISS BOO HISS BOO! This is genre snobbery at its finest—however, if indie authors would hone their craft more before publishing, we would have more credibility. I have discovered a lot of wonderful indie books and a lot of awful ‘big name’ published books; it’s all about searching and keeping your mind open.
13. Some people feel indie authored books are of lesser quality than those that go through the traditional publishers. Do you agree with them? If so, how can independent authors raise the bar and remove this stigmatism?
Alas, yes, this is often true. Having to organize your own resources has that effect. Careful editing and lots of beta readers will help improve your book. Sweat and blood and patience are the only remedies. Pay money to make your book look good and read easily, and you will see that traditional sources give us more respect.
14. Any pets? If so, tell us what role they play in your writing, if any.
My cat Maxwell Maximillian Maximus—Max—keeps me sane. I also have a beloved partner to make me eat and bathe and sustain real life, thankfully.
15. R.S. Guthrie wrote a hard-hitting post (http://robonwriting.com/2013/02/05/i-...) on reviewers and the veil of anonymity some of them hide behind. Your thoughts on this subject?
It’s hard to preserve objectivity and responsibility; like superheroes and supervillains, people use internet nicknames to harass and save others. Me, I try not to say anything I would not defend—and therefore, need no anonymity. I have seen trolls as well, though, and I think unmasking peoples’ aliases will only result in more fake profiles.
16. Which retailers or others sites can readers find your work at?
I am on Amazon, Smashwords (Kobo and Sony and iStore and etc), Leanpub, and GoodReads. I'm all over the internet, really!
17. Where can readers find out more about you?
www.scifimagpie.blogspot.ca is my home blog, and my facebook fan page www.facebook.com/scifimagpie is also reliable. Twitter is another good place! I am, of course, www.twitter.com/scifimagpie.
I'm a published science fiction author with a love for talking about the end of the world, silver jewellery, nightmares, and chocolate. I'm also a "fountain of esoterica" (to quote my 10th grade English teacher) and I'm fluent in Shakespeare, cussing, and activism.
I came from a smallish town in Southern Alberta and now live in Calgary with my partner. When we're not saving the world from hipsters or riding our bear cavalry to work, we can be found on the internet or with our friends. Phuquerie happens frequently and often.